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HOT SPROTS TAEKS: Taking Our Minds Off Of Other Matters

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CURRENT GURLEY NEWS ALERT THREAT LEVEL: GARNET AND GOLD (That is, we're trying to ignore the fact that something's obviously happening, but we really don't know what it is and really only care about the end result being in our favor.)

Kyle Rivas

If you're like me, you spent the better part of your productive hours today with twitter open in one browser window while trying to work with only one eye focused on said to-do items. Alas, no news is... well, no news... on the Todd Gurley front.  If we don't see something by mid-afternoon tomorrow, the answer will probably end up being something we don't want it to be.

But right now, I want to ignore all that.  So, here are a couple of random HOT SPROTS TAEKS for you:

  • From now on, Vince Dooley = Wally Butts in our collective minds - Did you notice that basically nobody talked about the 50-year tribute that Georgia did for Vince Dooley at halftime of the Tennessee game? The UGA Athletic Department tweeted out a video about it, but other than the actual halftime ceremony, that was about it.  And even the ceremony itself was extremely short and very low-key.  They basically played a video, said, "Hey everybody, here's Vince Dooley!" The crowd dutifully served up a brief cheer, and that was that. The athletic department went to a lot of trouble to print up double-sized, commemorative tickets for that game to let everyone know that it was "Vince Dooley day," so I'd figured they'd have a little bit more of a celebration.   But no, it was little more than you'd see for any recognition of, for example, an anniversary of the 1968 SEC championship team. Remember when there was a lot more hubbub surrounding Dooley's name?  Back when people wanted to rename the stadium to Sanford-Dooley Stadium?  Yeah, that was before Mark Richt established himself in Athens, wasn't it?

    Don't get me wrong.  I have no problem with honoring Coach Dooley's tenure in Athens. He is still the winningest coach of all time between the hedges (for now, at least), and he has the second-highest career winning percentage of any coach to last at least a decade in the Classic City.  If the last 14 years of Georgia football have taught us anything, though, it's that legacies can come and go in a very short (from a historical standpoint) period of time in Athens.

    In 1989... and heck, even in 2001, most Georgia fans probably would have pointed to Vince Dooley as not only our most successful coach of all time, but the best AD we'd ever had, and basically, the most important single person in UGA athletics history not named "Magill."  Fast forward to 2014, and I'd venture to say that any Georgia fan under the age of 30 probably remembers Dooley as that guy who refused to wear Red and Black when Tennessee showed up in Athens a couple of times because his son was coaching the Vols.

    I think we've passed a milestone in Georgia football history. (And really, you only know you've passed a milestone when you're past it.) From now on, most people will think of Vince Dooley in the same way many of us old farts used to think about Wally Butts. "Hey, it's that old guy that coached UGA and had a lot of success about a billion years ago."
  • Florida does not have a "Top 5" coaching position - Ok, stay with me here.  Yes, I hate the Florida Gators with the fire of a thousand suns being fueled by the fire of an additional thousand suns.  But that doesn't mean my assertion is wrong. Back when Steve Spurrier left Gainesville, all the pundits were proclaiming that the Florida coaching job was "the best in the country," for multiple reasons. Since it's likely that the Sunshine State Saurians will once again be looking for a head man either during or upon the conclusion of the 2014 season, let's revisit some of those oft-cited reasons now, through the lens of 14 more years of history:

    1) Florida has a huge fan base:  Well, the population of the state of Florida is indeed growing, and it's growing most rapidly in places like Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville, where a strong concentration of Florida fans tend to be located. These people aren't popping into existence from nowhere, though:  most of them are transplants from other places, and went to college at schools other than the University of Florida, so they're not necessarily natural Florida fans.  I guess those transplants' kids might be more inclined to grow up as Gator fans, but still... simple numbers in geographic proximity to your campus don't define how solid or committed a fan base is.  If it did, Northwestern and Rutgers would have the largest fan bases in the country.

    2) Florida has a rabid, committed fan base: Have you ever looked up "rabid" in the dictionary? That's not really a good thing. In 2001, the Florida fan base essentially ran off Steve Spurrier because he "only" won one national championship. After that, they called for the firing of his successor virtually from the day Ron Zook was hired. (Really... literally one day after he was hired, the website FireRonZook.com was registered.) After the Zooker, they got Urban Meyer and entered the most statistically successful era in Florida football history. In their "rabid" joy and celebration, these wonderful fans managed to stress their coach out so much that he developed potentially major health issues and resigned, going to ESPN for a year before deciding that maybe the B1G was more his speed.  Now they've got Secret Agent Double-Oh Boom, and they're ready to fire him, too, less than 24 months after he led them to a 11-1 regular season record and a Sugar Bowl appearance. If if they decide to fire Coach Larry and hire Dan Mullen after this season?  Yep, they'll do exactly the same thing to him.

    Florida's fan base is, indeed, rabid. Just not in a good way. Also, if you want to know how "committed" they are, just check out the attendance figures in 2013 (which, again, is coming off a year in which they made the Sugar Bowl). They were 7th in the SEC in % of stadium filled per game (which negates the factor of some stadiums being larger than others). That's nowhere near Miami-level bad... but that's not good, either.

    3) Florida is located slap in the middle of the nation's biggest recruiting hotbed:  Ok, this is undeniably true.  But you know what?  Florida is not the only school that is aware of this fact.  Georgia has plucked some of the best players out of Florida in recent years, and FSU is out-recruiting the Gators right now, too.  Miami has been terrible recently, but in their better years they're strong in-state competition. Alabama can come in and try to cherry-pick the players they want, as can, to some extent, Auburn. And schools like South Carolina, Tennessee, and to a lesser extent the Mississippi and Arkansas schools (which also look west) always have to recruit nationally, so they've got big presences in the state, as well. And all this is not even counting the lesser in-state recruiting players like USF, UCF, and the F_U schools, which are usually not competing for the same level of recruit as those in which Florida is interested.

    No, geography just doesn't matter that much anymore in recruiting, especially in the southeastern portion of the U.S., where any top recruit's family is a long car ride or a short plane flight away from a significant number of the best football schools in the country.

    Finally, the money.  Florida does have a lot of money, but in the era of the SEC Network, every SEC school now has a lot of money (Tennessee excepted, of course) and world-class facilities. All of Florida's supposed "strengths" as a program just don't amount to a huge advantage in the year 2014. Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that Florida is a bad coaching job. It's still a place most coaches looking for a "step up to the big time" would salivate over. It's just not what is being represented as the "best coaching job in the country."  In my opinion, primarily due to the fact that about half the fan base will undoubtedly hate you from your first day on the job, it's not even in the top 5.

  • So there we go... maybe that'll give us something to argue about until, hopefully get can get some real news happening tomorrow, for better or for worse.

Go Dawgs!